Or, What do you mean I can’t bill you for lunch?

There are all sorts of hidden perks to regular staff employment. Forget the obvious stuff like health care coverage and paid vacation time. Here’s some of the things I don’t get paid to do anymore:

Networking
I used to do this on someone else’s dime. Now I not only have to cover the memberships, time spent at networking and professional events can’t be billed to anyone, unless I have a really indulgent client. (NB: I don’t)

Lunch
While many people work through lunch, or eat lunch at their desks while working, if they don’t, they’re still getting paid.

The radio (and magazines, and webinars)
I’m sitting here listening to a radio discussion about the Chicago Cultural Plan. This is hugely relevant to my business, and if I had staff job it would be a no-brainer to take a break to listen to it, and, for that matter, to read the plan. But, like networking, as a consultant I need to have this information, but I can’t charge anyone for it.

Wifi
And phone. And office space. And taxes.

Comp time
I work in the arts. This means going to clients’ concerts, theater, and exhibitions. Whereas when I was on staff I could take comp time for these events, as a consultant “comp time” doesn’t really exist, and I can’t charge to go to shows.

Oh well, at least I get into the shows for free.

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